Gauteng legislature mediates in Emangweni standoff

Sunday, August 13, 2017

The Gauteng Provincial Legislature’s Deputy Chairperson of Committees has met with the provincial Department of Education and management of Emangweni Primary School as part of efforts to resolve conflict between the school and community.

The legislature’s Deputy Chairperson of Committees, Mike Madlala and Chairperson of the Education Portfolio Committee, Joe Mpisi, convened a meeting with the provincial Department of Education, management of Emangweni Primary School and the community surrounding the school located in Tembisa, Gauteng.

In a statement on Friday, the legislature said Thursday’s meeting was part of its intervention efforts in the ongoing conflict between the school and community, as the conflict negatively impacts the process of learning and teaching at the school.

“The dispute is between the school’s management and the community around the school, as a result of churches being denied access to the school’s facilities. The churches in the area previously used the school’s infrastructure for their weekly services, but have since been denied access due to alleged non-payment of ‘rental fees,” said the legislature.

The meeting resolved that a mediation process should proceed with the principal, school governing body (SGB) Chairperson, as well as community members inclusive of the churches affected.

It was also agreed that a formal agreement should be reached, where a reasonable and fair amount is charged for the use of school premises by any other external structures, including churches and political organisations.

The churches were encouraged to take responsibility for cleaning the school on a rotational basis and monitoring the use of school furniture to minimise damage.

As part of monitoring this process, the SGB was requested to convene quarterly meetings with all the school’s ‘tenants’.

“In exercising its oversight role on the department, the Education Portfolio Committee has committed to visit the school for monitoring and assessment purposes on a regular basis. The department will also carry out its mandate and report back to the committee on the functionality, maintenance, fundraising and spending projects of the school,” said the provincial legislature. –

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